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About 3 years ago, I began investigating the idea of a Canadian Jazz And Blues Hall Of Fame to be situated in Barrie, Ontario, and found that there was no dissatisfaction with the proposed location from anyone I spoke with in Canada. I had discussions with other parties to test the credibility in their communities and, again, the response was affirmative. The enthusiasm came from the artistic, the educational and the infrastructure communities. I also found that the media were in support of the whole concept. A small steering committee was configured, an enthusiastic curator was found and a candidate list for a Board of Directors was established. Municipal support was solicited and made available through meetings with the city's mayor and the staff of the city's Parks and Recreation Department. Meetings were held with the Deputy Minister, his staff and the regional representative of the Provincial Ministry of Tourism Culture and Recreation. Counsel was also provided by the regional representative of the Department of Canadian Heritage.

Our plan was to announce the project in the spring or summer of 2001. We would then begin assembling the heritage of the Jazz and Blues culture and initiate inductions into the Hall of Fame within the year. About three months ago, I was informed of the delicate condition of a couple of potential inductees into the Hall of Fame and a decision was made to accelerate the process and begin inductions at The Barrie Jazz And Blues Festival VI in June 2001.

Two days ago (Tuesday March 20, 2001), through the most unlikely of circumstances, I was made aware of the tenuous circumstances of Moe Koffman. As it was our intention to allow this artist to know of his induction, every effort was made to communicate this to him. It is my understanding that he is now aware of this. It is my intention to provide him with his certificate of induction within the next two days. As we wished to induct Oscar Peterson simultaneously with Moe Koffman, efforts are being made to communicate this to him, also. This, then, is the status of our initiative at this moment.
Support, participation, counsel and advice over the last two days has been sought and kindly given by Barbara McCulloch, Bill King, John Evans, Carol Robertson, Michael Whyte, Glenda Rush, Aviva Koffman, Bill Skolnik and Andrew Scott among others.





In a nation blessed with "midnight suns" and "snow-belts", "chinooks" and pre-Cambrian Shields, Reversing Falls and "tar sands" ....and to top it all off, "two official" everythings, you are bound to get some quixotic notions every now and then. Holy Fathers Of Confederation, this nation is founded on the concept of "what if .........!". The latest "what if" revolves around the unsung history of a major Canadian artistic obsession and what might be done to start the singing. Canadian author Mark Miller's treatise, "The Lost History Of Jazz In Canada", is as plain a statement as one could hope for in identifying a void in the accumulated heritage of this great country.( Hopefully Mr. Miller is composing the sequel, "The Lost History Of Blues In Canada".) But the problem in identifying lost histories is that it begs the question, "Now what?"

Approximately three years ago the idea was first enunciated in a casual "what do you think..." kind of way, and the gradually swelling enthusiasm, endorsement and finally, excitement, has culminated in the announcement this past March of the inaugural inductees, Oscar Peterson and the late Moe Koffman. It has been demonstrated repeatedly in so many other realms that an Hall of Fame dedicated to a specific area of human endeavour can infuse that activity with new visibility, energy, credibility and intrigue. It invariably becomes a beacon to those novitiates that aspire to the greatness of the past. It can represent one of the highest distinctions and honours that a community of peers can bestow upon its most gifted, diligent and creative citizens. In the case of the Arts, it can strategically introduce and encourage a deeper understanding of a complex and instinctive form of human communication. And the art and its protagonists can find it a suitable conservatory for their accumulated work and accomplishments.

There is a dramatic and deeply Canadian story that has surrounded the inauguration of this new project, but that must wait for next time. For the present, we can all be encouraged by what one exuberant Canadian Blues artist proclaimed upon hearing of the announcement of the new Hall Of Fame in late March, " I'm going to be in that one day!" Creative human beings need their Mount Everests to conquer. It is hoped that THE CANADIAN JAZZ AND BLUES HALL OF FAME will represent one of the peaks of attainment that Canadian Jazz and Blues Artists can aspire to. And where all Canadians can congregate with them in their legacy.